Home Buying Tips: 5 Ways to De-stress During the Process

Buying a house can be a stressful process, especially when you’ve found your dream home and have put in your bid. While it’s easy to spend all of your spare time worrying endlessly if your bid will be accepted it won’t get you any closer to hearing that “yes”. Here are five things you can do instead of worrying and will help relieve stress instead.

Read a book – Immerse yourself in another world by picking up a book. Spend some time browsing the shelves of your local library or bookstore for something that catches your eye. If you aren’t normally a reader choose a genre similar to your movie tastes or ask a librarian for a recommendation.

Meditate – I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before. Every time the topic of lowering stress come up you are sure to have meditation suggested as a combative tool. But it’s so widely recommended for good reason! Science has proven that meditation really does lower stress levels. With its popularity comes a plethora of options for you to experiment with. You can try in-person classes, apps, or CDs. There are even many different ways to meditate so find what works for you and keep practicing.

Exercise – Exercise may not be everyone’s favorite past time but it is an excellent way to lower stress. Don’t worry this doesn’t mean you need a gym membership or to spend hours lugging weights around. Walking, dancing and even vigorously cleaning can all count as exercise if they raise your heart rate. You can even think of it as prep for move in day.

Spend time with friends – Gather a group of friends together to catch up over brunch or go out on the town for the night. Either way, you will have a blast spending time with those you care about and lowering your stress levels. Social engagement is an important facet of human life and when you gather a group of friends there is almost a guarantee for some laughter. And yes, laughing really does help you reduce stress!

Get outside – Spending time in nature is a guaranteed way to destress with endless possibilities. You can go for a hike, ride a bike, spend time on a boat, at the beach or in your own backyard. You also have the added benefit of the ability to combine this tip with any of those given above. Lay out a blanket to sit on to read or meditate, gather a group of friends for a game of kickball, or go for a run as a group or by yourself.

Waiting to hear if your bid on your dream home has been accepted can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. By spending your time engaging in activities that help lower your stress levels you will not only keep yourself from worrying but also do yourself some good too. Whether you choose to snuggle up with a good book or go out on the town with some friends you’ll be glad you gave yourself some downtime before move in day!

Adding Mugo Pine Trees To The Home Landscape

Pinus_mugo_Sherwood_Compact_3_E.Wiegand_800Mugo Pine – An Attractive Landscape Addition

If you are looking for a beautiful evergreen shrub to use in home landscaping, the Mugo Pine is hard to beat. Easy to grow, tolerant of poor soil, and adaptable to varied light conditions, the Mugo Pine adds rich green color and visual interest to the home garden. Mugo pines proudly display graceful deep-green, long needles and brown, rough bark. Other types of pine trees are not suited to mass plantings as they have a tendency to loose lower branches and inner needles as they mature.

Mugo Pine, also known as Swiss Mountain Pine is one of the most popular dwarf conifers used in home landscaping. There are more than 40 different dwarf verities of Mugo Pine. A member of the plant family Pinaceae, the Mugo Pine is a shrub or small tree, round or pyramidal in shape that grows from two to ten feet tall at maturity.
Mugo Pine trees are available for purchase online or from local home and garden supply stores or landscape nurseries.

Ideally suited for mass planting along fences and foundations Mugo Pine holds its needles for more than four years. The hardy shrub is also used for privacy screening or as an ornamental landscape signature specimen. Mugo Pine is complimented by planting English Ivy around the base of the plant to provide a blanket of greenery that is a distinctive statement when colorful summer plants are dormant.

Popular Varieties
Popular varieties of Mugo pine include “Mops” a slow-growing compact form, “Slowmound” a slow-growing round or mounded form, and “Sherwood Compact” a slow-growing flat mounded form that only grows only two feet tall. These varieties of Mugo pine have a 30 to 40-year life span. Considered a sign of prosperity or good fortune, Mugo Pine trees, presented in an attractive pot or container, are often given as a housewarming gift.

“Tannenbaum” is a tall-growing (10 feet or more) dense conical form often used as a potted living Christmas tree before being planted in the home landscape. “Oregon Jade” is a dwarf variety of Mugo pine that grows low to the ground and performs well as foundation planting.

Minature Varieties
“Valley Cushion” is a little variety of Mugo pine, well suited to potted container or bonsai cultivation. When cultivated as a bonsai planting, Mugo pine trees require plenty of sunlight and water. Soil must have excellent drainage or root rot will develop. Mugo Pine trees can not stand having “wet feet” and will die if root rot develops.

Plant Needs
Mugo pine trees grow best in United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 2 through 7. They tend not to do well in warmer climates. Mugo pines are not particular about soil types and do well in with either an acid or alkaline soil. They will benefit by a regular top dressing of well-age herbivore manure (cow, horse, sheep or goat) around the base of the shrub.

Indoor Plants for Health and Home

House plants can significantly improve the dynamic of a room.  While some are purely decorative, there are others that can have a dramatic effect on air and indoor pollution levels.  If you are planning on making a few botanical additions to your home, then why not get the added benefit of choosing plants that will work for you, as well as providing an aesthetic benefit?  Here are a few to get you started.

Golden Pothos – This vine-like plant is very easy to grow, requiring very little light, and can survive quite comfortably if you happen to forget to water it on a regular basis.  With regular fertilizing, this plant becomes a fast-growing vine that looks fantastic in any room.  Clippings can be taken, put in water, and will develop root structures in as little as a few days.  Because this is a submersible plant, it is also popular with aquarium enthusiasts.  In addition, this plant is a heavy oxygen producer, and can also remove benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from your air.

Peace Lilies – Interestingly enough, these houseplants are not true lilies. These attractive members of the Araceae family need only a little light and water in order to survive, and produce brilliant flowers.

Rubber Tree – While used as houseplants in North America, these plants have an interesting use in India; the roots are guided over chasms in order to create what is commonly referred to as living bridges.  These plants prefer bright sunlight, and while they can withstand infrequent watering quite well, they will thrive if given enough moisture.

Weeping Fig – This is the official tree of Bangkok, Thailand.  In a study by NASA, this plant was shown to effectively remove airborne toxins from its environment.  This plant thrives in warm, sunny conditions, but can also tolerate low-light conditions fairly well.  If it is moved to a new room, it will shed a large number of its leaves, and replace them with new leaves in response to the change in light conditions.  While it is adaptive to changes in light, care should be taken not to place it in an area where it will be subjected to strong, cold drafts.  This plant is also popular among bonsai enthusiasts for its aesthetic properties.

Snake Plant – Also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue”, this plant has been recognized in the same NASA study as one of the best plants to remove indoor air pollution.  Like other pollution-reducing plants, this one can survive quite well with low light levels and irregular watering.  Care should be taken not to over water this species, as the root structure is fairly sensitive.

For further reading, you can pick up the book How To Grow Fresh Air, by B.C. Wolverton.

3 Key Traits of a Buyer’s Market

For homebuyers, there may be nothing better than searching for a house in a buyer’s market. Typically, a buyer’s market is defined by several key characteristics, including:

1. Shortage of Homebuyers

In a seller’s market, competition among homebuyers remains fierce. Therefore, a homebuyer may be forced to compete against several homebuyers to secure his or her dream home.

Comparatively, a buyer’s market features a shortage of homebuyers, resulting in less competition for quality residences. As a homebuyer, this is ideal because it means that you may be able to improve your chances of securing a great house at a price that matches your budget.

If you’re a homebuyer in a buyer’s market, the ball is in your court. As such, you should take your time exploring the housing market and find a residence that suits your budget and lifestyle perfectly. By doing so, you likely will be able to secure your dream home without having to worry about the stress of competing against other homebuyers or exceeding your budget.

2. Abundance of Home Sellers

A buyer’s market may be a tough time for home sellers. At this time, there may be many homes available, and home sellers might need to reduce the prices of their residences to stir up interest.

Meanwhile, an abundance of home sellers ensures there is a large supply of homes available. This may make it easier for a homebuyer to check out many terrific homes and find one at a below-average price.

Although a buyer’s market presents many opportunities for homebuyers, it is important to avoid taking shortcuts. Instead, a homebuyer should devote ample time and resources to assess homes that meet his or her criteria and respond accordingly.

Furthermore, homebuyers should avoid the temptation to submit a lowball offer on a residence – even in a buyer’s market. If you submit an offer that falls below a home seller’s expectations, you may miss out on the chance to acquire your dream home altogether.

3. Steady Supply of Real Estate Agents

When it comes to shopping for a home in a buyer’s market, working with a real estate agent is a great idea. A real estate agent can provide you with plenty of information about first-rate residences that you can enjoy for years to come. Plus, a real estate professional may be able to offer insights into a home that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, making it simple for you to purchase a top-notch home at a bargain price.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent can offer recommendations throughout the homebuying journey. He or she also will be able to respond to any concerns or questions you have, ensuring you can remain calm, cool and collected as you transition from homebuyer to homeowner.

Employ a real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey in a buyer’s or seller’s market. With a real estate professional at your side, you can navigate the challenges of the real estate market and secure your dream house without delay.